Monthly Archives: September 2016
Posted by ravenstpierre
Today’s the day! Can’t wait for you all to dig into this book, but for now, please enjoy a sneak peek of the first two chapters. When you’re done, I’d love for you to share, like, and comment! Release day is Sunday, October 9th, so Make sure you’re on my email list to get the notification as soon as it’s live!
And don’t forget, I still have a giveaway going for anyone interested in helping with my Release Day Countdown Event. For the chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card, a signed paperback copy of OVERDOSE, plus a bunch of swag, just CLICK HERE to sign up and then you can come back to read 🙂
Also, if you like to party and LOVE winning prizes, come hang out with me and some of your favorite authors of bad boy romance at my Facebook party, Bad Boys Do It Better, taking place Thursday, October 6th. JOIN NOW!
❤ Blurb ❤
**Special Notice: This romance is of the darker variety, contains adult themes, and sexually explicit content. The hero is flawed and dirty. Consider yourself warned**
Insomniac. Narcissist. Sex addict.
…the only description sex therapist, Vanessa Ferris, was given of her newest patient, a fellow psychologist, Dr. Zander Hale.
From the moment he entered her office, she knew he’d be trouble—possibly the good kind. What she wasn’t prepared for was how he’d blindside her; how he would challenge everything she thought she knew about her profession, about herself.
There are certain lines a doctor is warned never to cross with their patients, but she didn’t listen.
Now, they’re both addicted.
One hit was all it took.
***AUTHOR NOTE: “OVERDOSE” is a full-length standalone, bursting at the seams with sexual heat, thanks to one smoking hot bad-boy and his feisty, no nonsense therapist. Expect a dark tale of erotic romance with no cliffhanger. This story is not for the faint of heart and is definitely intended for readers 18 and older.
❤ Chapter One ❤
“Your messages, Dr. Ferris.”
Vanessa flashed her secretary, Greta, the best smile she could muster this early in the morning and accepted the stack of pink memos. After uttering a quick, “Thank you,” she continued on toward her office at the end of the dimly lit hallway—a hallway with walls made of Tuscan fieldstone. The blend of ash and coal tones were too dark in her opinion, but there hadn’t been much consideration for her preferences when the décor was chosen. This practice was technically half hers, but these dark walls served as yet another reminder of how little that mattered.
She had no voice in this partnership.
During the half hour before her first appointment, she intended to return a few calls and finish the still-warm cup of coffee in her hand. Passing by Simon’s door, the sound of his and a patient’s muffled voices could be heard inside. It was likely this early session had been Vanessa’s saving grace; the only reason Simon wasn’t waiting at her desk already this morning. That was his latest ploy and she hated it. Since he wasn’t getting much conversation from her outside the office, he resorted to cornering her inside the building where he knew she’d be civil.
Now that the divorce proceedings had begun, all she offered her soon-to-be ex was one word answers and even those were few and far between. It was bad enough they were still linked as business partners by their joint practice. In her eyes, that was enough; he didn’t deserve her time off the clock, too.
Not after all he’d done.
Thumbing through the messages again as she settled into her seat, Vanessa zeroed in on one from a former colleague, Dr. James Keiser—or, Jim, as she was accustomed to calling him. Generally speaking, he only called when an interesting case presented itself, one he thought she’d be better equipped to handle. Tapping a pen on the edge of her desk, she contemplated.
Who would it be this time?
His referrals were always so colorful; clients who presented a welcomed challenge.
“Jim? Hey, it’s Vanessa. Looks like you called after I left the office yesterday?”
When he hesitated, she sat back in her seat and prepared herself, swallowing down a sip of coffee while she held the phone.
“As a matter of fact, I did,” came a gruff voice on the other end of the line. “I know you’re busy, as am I, so I’ll cut right to the chase. How’s your patient roster looking these days? I think I may have someone who could benefit from seeing you.”
Vanessa shrugged to herself and calculated. “Full enough, but there’s always room for more,” she answered. Now wasn’t the time to turn down new patients; not with her plans to branch off from Simon in the near future. “Who do you have for me?”
“Male. Thirty-five years old. Insomniac, possible narcissistic personality disorder—”
“That’s all very interesting, but how about you get to the good part,” she cut in, smirking at Jim’s tendency to tiptoe around his point. “Why’re you sending him my way?” she asked pointedly. “Nothing you’ve mentioned thus far warrants sex therapy.”
“Well, in addition to what I’ve already mentioned, the patient also suffers from hypersexual disorder—your area of expertise, not mine,” he finally added.
A sex addict; nothing Vanessa hadn’t dealt with before. She nodded to herself thinking this case would likely be routine. “Okay. That sounds simple enough. Can you tell me more?”
Jim hesitated again and Vanessa’s brow lifted as intrigue set in. “Actually… I’d like for you to delve into this one on your own. And the sooner you can avail yourself, the better.”
Resting both elbows on her desk, she frowned. Why the rush?
“By any chance, do you have an opening today?” Jim’s persistence definitely piqued her interest.
She checked her schedule. “I can fit him in at one.”
“Perfect. I’ll send him over.”
When the call ended, Vanessa sat back and drafted a mental list of reasons her former colleague could’ve been so eager to get this patient in to see her. Glancing at the clock, she dismissed the thoughts and opened the drawer that held her pen and notepad. Her first appointment would begin soon.
Within ten minutes, Greta buzzed the intercom. “Your nine o’clock is here.”
“Thanks. Send her in, please.”
Perched in her chocolate-colored, leather armchair, Vanessa stared at the blank sheet of paper and waited for Jasmine Emerson to enter. The three short knocks at the door carried an air of familiarity now after seven months of weekly sessions.
Jasmine stepped inside and took a seat. Pushing pale, blonde hair behind her shoulders, she gave a tight smile. Vanessa returned the gesture and assessed her patient’s posture and overall mood before speaking.
“Good morning, Jasmine.”
A distracted, “Morning, Dr. Ferris,” was returned. The heavy, southern drawl she spoke with slowed the pace of her words in a way Vanessa found charming. It wasn’t a common accent to hear in Denver, which made it even more pleasant.
Vanessa glanced down at her notes from the previous session. “So… how’d your little homework experiment turn out? Were you successful?”
Jasmine sighed, her expression speaking volumes. “No, not exactly. I mean, Drew and I tried what you said, but he was a little uncomfortable with the idea of me… you know… touching myself. According to him, masturbation isn’t natural for a woman.”
Vanessa had heard both men and women express this same notion—that self-gratification for a man is perfectly acceptable, but for a woman? Completely ‘unladylike’. If there was any truth to that theory, she was about as unladylike as they came, especially lately.
Clearing her throat, she pushed her personal issues to the back of her mind and focused on Jasmine.
“It’s not uncommon for men to have these views. Did you try talking to Drew about why he feels this way?”
Jasmine nodded, blinking blue eyes. “A little, but he wouldn’t really give me a straight answer. I guess the idea of it just freaked him out.” She sighed and slumped against the back of the couch.
“What’s on your mind?” Vanessa asked, seeing clear signs of frustration on her patient’s face and in her body language.
“Honestly? Sex. Sex is on my mind,” Jasmine admitted, laughing a little, but then her smile faded, giving way to the sadness Vanessa had grown accustomed to seeing her bear.
“I’m at my wits end,” she went on. “It’s been eighteen long months since my husband’s been a… a real husband to me and I’m losing hope that it’ll ever change. I suppose this would all be at least tolerable if the man believed in… you know… oral stimulation,” she added in a hushed tone, “but even that’s off the table. I shared with you that our families were deeply religious, but his upbringing was clearly stricter than mine. The man still believes anything other than plain, vanilla missionary is a sin.” There was a vacant look behind Jasmine’s eyes when she paused. “Lately… I’ve even considered filing for divorce.”
Hearing the word ‘divorce’ made Vanessa shudder. As someone currently going through that hell, she wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
“It’s common for soldiers with PTSD to suffer from prolonged impotence, Jasmine. No, not all of them manifest symptoms in the same way, but what your husband’s experiencing is actually quite normal.”
“Maybe. But what I’m going through isn’t normal. I find myself watching other men like a predator, Dr. Ferris. The pizza guy. My son’s high school friends—the legal ones,” she clarified. “The mailman.”
Vanessa cleared her throat again, but didn’t comment.
“Dr. Ferris, I’m not the type of woman to run around on her man, but this is my reality. It’s so… unnatural,” Jasmine added, not bothering to hide her frustration.
“Hold on to that feeling. Now tell me what ‘unnatural’ means? What exactly are you experiencing, feeling, when you say that?”
Jasmine toiled over Vanessa’s question for a moment. “I feel… vulnerable, like cheating is a very real possibility. And after twenty years of marriage, this is new to me. Drew and I went from four, five times a week to nothing. It’s hard to just turn off those feelings.”
“How did you deal with the sexual depravation while Drew was deployed? Is it possible to draw on those methods again?”
Jasmine sighed. “When he was away, I waited. The longest he was ever gone was six months, so I dealt with it. But we’re not talking six months; we’re at eighteen and counting.”
These sessions would’ve been so much more productive if Drew would give in and come to therapy with his wife. That would give Vanessa a chance to analyze his deep rooted sexual reservations and maybe offer some help. But for now, all she had to go on were Jasmine’s observations and assumptions.
She scribbled a few notes on her notepad and then met Jasmine’s gaze again.
“Do you truly believe you’d be happier being separated from your husband?” Vanessa asked, making sure she conveyed no judgment in her tone.
Jasmine shifted in her seat, becoming even more visibly flustered. “Yes and no.”
Jasmine shrugged her shoulders. “That part should be obvious.” Vanessa didn’t say anything, so her patient elaborated. “Because if I was… if I wasn’t married anymore, I could have sex with other men without feeling guilty.” She lowered her head when shame washed over her for having admitted such a thing.
“And why ‘no’?” Vanessa asked.
“Because I love my husband, Dr. Ferris. Despite what you may think, if I could, I wouldn’t be with anyone else for the rest of my life.”
Vanessa could hear the emotion heavy in her patient’s voice. “I’m not judging you, Jasmine.”
“Maybe not out loud, but you have to be thinking what a terrible person I am. Hell… I’d judge me, too, if it wasn’t my situation. I’m a married woman contemplating leaving her husband—the loyal war hero—just to get my itch scratched.” Jasmine seemed to get lost inside her head for a moment. “I don’t want to leave him, I… I just don’t know what else to do.”
Vanessa’s thoughts drifted to her own situation as she listened to Jasmine voice her frustrations. She had her own hurt to bear, hurt that ran deep. Making the decision to leave Simon wasn’t an easy one, but it felt like the only option. Their trust, their bond, had been severed. No amount of time or effort could mend that. When she came out of her thoughts, she tuned in to Jasmine’s voice again.
“I just want sex. Like… a lot of it. Now. Does that make me a bad person?”
“No,” Vanessa replied. “It makes you human.”
Jasmine sighed and sank deeper into the couch. Vanessa made a few more notes and then asked what goal Jasmine wanted to set for her next session.
She blew out a breath and gave her answer some thought, posing it as a question when she finally spoke. “I could try masturbating for Drew again? See if I can get him to loosen up a bit?”
“Are you comfortable with that?” Vanessa asked.
“I mean… I am. It’s Drew who can’t handle it. Maybe if we talk about it first, I can figure out what his issue is with it.” As she stood, she sighed heavily like before. “At this point, I almost don’t even care what he thinks. He’s lucky I haven’t resorted to dry-humping random household objects just to get off.”
Vanessa held in a laugh and lowered her gaze to her paper.
“Same time next week?” Jasmine asked.
“Your slot should be open. Just double-check with Greta on your way out.”
Jasmine nodded politely and then shut the door behind her.
Alone at last.
Each session was draining in its own way. Some patients were needier than others—looking for Vanessa to iron out all of their problems in one half-hour or hour-long session. Others left her feeling ineffective, which kept her on a constant search for new ways to approach their cases. Each one was like its own individual marathon. Some patients just wanted a hand to hold when they crossed the finish line; others wanted to sit on the sidelines and watch Vanessa run the distance all on her own. She soon came to realize that being a psychologist was tiring, thankless work.
The sound of a knock on the door startled her. “Come in.”
She watched as Simon peered around the door before entering and instantly regretted not asking who it was the second she laid eyes on him. That smug face of his made her sick to her stomach. He gave a half smile behind a gold-toned beard, one that had become equal parts gray over the last decade.
“Can I help you?” she asked in a clipped tone, hating that he continued to push like this.
Didn’t she deserve space?
Didn’t he owe her that after everything?
She was almost positive Simon had no clue just how deep this newfound hatred for him ran.
He took in the sight of her sitting in her chair, his soon-to-be ex-wife, rocking the hell out of a navy blue power-suit. When he failed to respond to her previous question, Vanessa stared, observing him right back as he ogled her.
Ignorant to Vanessa’s mounting intolerance, Simon’s gaze came to rest on her thighs—smooth, tight, the shade of a rich, expensive blend of coffee with just a small drop of cream. A memory flashed in his head, a vision of those same legs spread across his desk just after office hours in the Psych Building.
Their story began more than a decade ago, back when he was a prominent Psychology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Vanessa was nothing more to him than an eager student who couldn’t outrun his charm. He was nearly twenty-years her senior, but the age difference was rarely felt. He had no trouble keeping up with her insatiable sexual appetite then or now.
Damn… he missed those days, when he was still allowed to touch her. After only one night with him, he had her thoroughly hooked, and she had him wrapped around her dainty finger.
But now… all he had to go on was the memory of what was.
From the start of their relationship, sex had been a major part of the connection. In fact, they hadn’t even gone on an actual date until Vanessa graduated with her Master’s degree. Meaning, for an entire year, commencing with the first day he saw her sitting in the front row of his lecture hall, the relationship was strictly sexual. Sure there was conversation afterward, but it wasn’t so much the intellectual or emotional bond that made them fall in love; it was the physical.
His eyes continued to wander as nostalgia reminded him of all he’d had and lost. He always loved her legs, especially when she had on a sleek pair of high heels like she did now. However, all he was allowed to do these days was look. Touching her was out of the question.
Six months had passed since Vanessa found pale-pink lipstick on the collar of a shirt he’d worn. It didn’t matter that he’d take all the cheating back if he could. To Vanessa, all that mattered was that her husband of nine years had been unfaithful… and he couldn’t blame her for that.
Feeling the cold hands of guilt inching their way up his back, Simon cleared his throat and stepped closer, running a hand through his blond and gray-streaked hair.
Vanessa continued to stare, repeating the phrase, “Can I help you?”
Simon initially thought to have a seat on the couch, but he knew he wasn’t welcome. That feeling should’ve been enough to keep him away altogether, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t fathom the idea of just letting his wife go. In his mind, regardless of how many offenses he committed, she would always belong to him.
“Did you uh… did you get my boy off to school all right this morning?” he asked, trying like hell to sound confident. It wasn’t like he didn’t have the right to inquire about their son, but damn if she didn’t make him feel like he didn’t. That icy glare of hers…
Blinking dark lashes Simon’s way, Vanessa sighed. “Don’t I always?”
Simon nodded and gave a tight smile, knowing his face had become red when it heated. Yes, he really did want to hear about his son, but that wasn’t the only reason he’d come to Vanessa’s office. He hated that, soon, the paperwork would all be final and he’d lose her for good. It was hard enough not getting to go home to her every night, but the idea of her no longer being his, the idea of her moving on one day… it was almost too much to handle. He loved her. She had to know that despite his actions; had to feel that.
In a fit of pure desperation, he spoke without giving much thought to what he might say. All he knew was that he had to say something. Time was running out. According to his lawyer, in a matter of weeks, maybe only two, everything would be finalized and he will have officially lost one of the two most important people in his life.
If only he’d been able to show her that. If only he’d been a better husband, a better man.
The words, “Let me take you to dinner this weekend,” kind of fell at Vanessa’s feet when they tumbled from Simon’s mouth. The statement came out forced and clumsy, but he didn’t care. For her, he’d be awkward and vulnerable, two things he’d never been, but he’d do whatever it took to win his wife back.
“We can call a babysitter for Ryan… or, or even take him with us if that’s what you want. I don’t care,” he went on. “Just… please.” He paused to evaluate Vanessa’s blank expression.
When she puffed a short sigh and slid her glasses off, his gaze was trained on her dark-brown eyes. “Simon… I don’t know how much clearer I can make this.”
“Dammit, Nessa! Don’t shut me out!” He hadn’t meant to get upset, but he knew she was getting ready to reject this offer just like she had all the ones before it.
Weren’t they worth some sort of fight?
He felt like she’d been so dismissive about this whole thing. Granted, what he’d done was wrong, but… he was never given a chance to explain himself; was never given a chance to seek the help he knew he needed to resolve his… issues.
Issues he kept to himself.
Issues he knew could potentially push Vanessa even further away.
She’d cut him off with no real dialogue. Surely, someone with her expertise should’ve understood there was more to the story, he thought. His infidelity was just the tip of the iceberg.
That night was still so clear in his head. The second he walked through the door there wasn’t a question in his mind… she knew. At the time, he had no idea how she figured it out, but she knew. He could tell by the brokenness in her eyes. As soon as he stepped foot inside their bedroom, Vanessa came at him full-force, throwing her fists until he was able to restrain her. Through a blur of profanity and tears, she laid it all out on the table—what she found, how it made her feel, and what she wanted to happen next… she wanted him gone.
That was the end of it.
Simon had never been given the opportunity to tell her his side and that made him feel like he’d explode.
Vanessa stared after his outburst, trying to remember the last time Simon had raised his voice at her. She couldn’t recall, but knew it’d been years. She couldn’t understand why he’d even think she would accept such an invitation. Had she given him the idea that there was room to reconcile? No, she was sure she hadn’t. Yet and still, he was bold enough to ask.
“I think you should leave my office,” she said calmly, feeling the familiar sting of tears in the corners of her eyes. She could not and would not do this here, not in their place of business. Hell! She didn’t want to do it anywhere. There was nothing to talk about, nothing left of their relationship to salvage.
Simon read her mind, or read her face, rather.
The sound of Greta’s voice over the intercom broke the silence. “Your next appointment’s in, Dr. Ferris. Should I send her in?”
A chill passed between Vanessa and Simon as they stared at one another, frustrated for two very different reasons.
“Sure,” Vanessa replied flatly.
Simon moved toward the door, feeling his back and shoulders tense after the fruitless exchange with his wife. She’d always been stubborn, but once upon a time he loved that about her. However, it was different when that stubbornness was aimed at him, serving the express purpose of keeping him out of her life.
Now, more than ever, he felt that their end was inevitable.
❤ Chapter Two ❤
“Your one o’clock, Dr. Ferris.”
Vanessa sighed heavily, second-guessing her decision to do this favor for her former colleague.
“Thanks, Greta. Send him in.”
While she waited, she tugged the hem of her skirt down over her crossed legs.
The door opened silently, minus the usual courtesy knock she expected. Watching from her seat, she observed her newest patient as he stepped into her office and surveyed the room, tucking a black, motorcycle helmet beneath his arm.
The first thought that came to her mind was how terribly attractive he was, like the kind of attractive that could easily make a woman do things she wouldn’t otherwise; the kind of attractive that bred trouble. This thought reminded her of the reason Jim had sent him her way—sex addiction. If she had to guess, his good looks made finding women to satisfy his urges pretty damn easy.
The distance between them disappeared as the beautiful stranger stepped closer. Thick, dark hair on the crown of his head was neatly styled while the sides were shaven low. Vanessa stood and held in a breath as she continued to stare into eyes a peculiar shade of golden-brown. They sized her up slowly. The flecked orbs of his pupils seemed to burn brighter when he met her gaze and a dim smile touched his lips—damp as if he’d just moistened them with his tongue before crossing the threshold.
The fragrance he wore was subtle enough that it didn’t precede him. Instead, the scent came as sort of an afterthought once the two stood face to face. There was a perfect measure of sweetness and spice that made Vanessa breathe more deeply than what felt natural; drawing it in, savoring it, savoring him. She caught herself on the brink of getting carried away and drove the temporary fog from her thoughts.
In usual fashion, she greeted the gentleman with a smile just like she did all her other patients.
“Hello, I’m Dr. Vanessa Ferris,” she said, extending a hand.
“Zander Hale. Pleasure meeting you,” he said, taking Vanessa’s hand in his. Her eyes flickered at the sound of a heavy, British accent.
That was unexpected.
Motioning for Zander to have a seat on the burgundy couch across from her, Vanessa sank down into her own chair again, cross-legged just like before he entered. She skimmed the few details Dr. Keiser had shared—insomniac, possible narcissistic personality disorder, sex addiction. Gazing up, she found Zander already watching with inquisitive eyes as he eased his arms from the dark, leather riding jacket that clung to his frame.
Vanessa took a breath and did her best not to stare.
“I’d like to get to know you. Can you tell me a few things about yourself, Mr. Hale?”
“Zander,” he corrected. “And where exactly would you like me to start? Your request is a bit broad.” He stared at Vanessa expectantly, waiting for a more specific question.
She looked down at her mostly blank notepad and away from Zander’s intensity. “Well… your accent tells me you’re not from the States. Are you from England?”
“Yes. Beckenham, South London, to be more specific.”
When her patient fell silent again, Vanessa nodded. “Okay. What about family? Wife? Children? Parents or siblings close by?”
Zander perched an elbow on the arm of the couch and cocked his head. “My mother is right where I left her. I have a brother. Younger. He moved here with me a decade ago. And no wife. No kids.”
“It’s interesting that you brought your brother here with you. Did he follow you for a reason?”
“I don’t see how that’s relevant,” Zander shot back, expressionless.
Vanessa took a shallow breath. No stranger to difficult patients, she was unmoved by Zander’s callousness.
“Well, today’s session is about me getting to know you.”
“That hardly seems fair,” he said with a smirk. “Sounds rather one-sided, wouldn’t you say? I’m just supposed to let you inside my head; let you poke around a bit, and then what? You feed me your ‘expert’ diagnosis after leeching off my bank account for a few years?” he asked.
“Is that your perception of therapy?” Vanessa asked calmly.
“Why’s that?” She jotted down a note while waiting.
“Because that’s precisely the reason I chose the profession myself.”
Her pen stopped and she looked up into Zander’s intense gaze. “You’re a psychologist,” she reiterated.
He answered with a slow smile. “Does that scare you?”
“Why would that scare me? Your profession has very little to do with your treatment.”
He laughed cynically. “It has everything to do with it, actually.” He leaned forward and rested both elbows on his knees, closing the distance between himself and Vanessa just a bit. He liked to see a woman’s eyes dilate when he entered into that invisible bubble of personal space; the one that sets off all types of physiological alarms within the body when breached.
“Aren’t you the least bit interested in knowing what sort of sick, maniacal bastard has written textbooks on psychosis, neurosis, and erotomania, but can’t cure his own damn issues?” He laughed again. “I mean… aren’t you a little curious about what’s going on inside this head of mine?”
Vanessa remained still and void of expression after Zander’s outburst.
He held her cold gaze and couldn’t resist the urge to smile again as he realized something; his new doctor wasn’t easily rattled.
He liked that.
“I tell you what. Let’s cut to the chase. Let’s leave family out of it and just… dig right in, shall we?” he said, tapping a finger to his temple.
Vanessa nodded. “All right, you talk. I’ll listen.” If she was going to handle this case, she had to keep the upper hand.
Zander’s smile faded as he leaned his back against the couch, letting his eyes drag up the length of Vanessa’s brown legs. She cleared her throat, but didn’t look away from him.
“What’d the doc tell you I was in for?” Zander finally asked.
“The description I got was vague, so let’s just assume I know nothing.”
“Fair enough. To simplify things, I like sex. Need… sex,” he clarified.
Vanessa leaned her head to the side. “That doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary. Everyone’s sex drive is different. What makes yours qualify as a problem?”
The corners of Zander’s mouth lifted. He detected undertones of a challenge in Vanessa’s response.
“How often would you say you think about sex in a day?” she asked more pointedly.
She smiled, glancing down at the term ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ written on the sheet of paper. “I’m sure that’s an exaggeration.”
Zander remained stone-faced, prepared to prove his point. “Since entering your office, roughly…” he paused to look down at his watch, “…oh, six minutes ago, I’ve already imagined you sucking my cock from beneath your desk, fantasized about bending you over that table,” he said, pointing toward the mahogany antique to his right without breaking eye contact. “And, pardon my candor, but I’m currently fighting the urge to drop to my knees for a taste of you as we speak.”
While Vanessa sat still as a statue, Zander invaded that delicate boundary of space again before repeating the one word that summed it all up:
She tried to steady her breathing while making another note. Zander turned to gaze out the window and Vanessa took a moment to watch him while his attention was elsewhere. His demeanor had shifted tremendously since he walked in. When the topic transitioned to sex, he became increasingly aggressive. Even now, his leg was shaking.
“How long have you suffered from—”
“Decades,” he answered, cutting her off. “Since I was fourteen, fifteen maybe.”
“You had your first sexual experience at fourteen?”
“Is that strange?”
Vanessa ignored the question, assuming it was rhetorical anyway. “What made you decide to seek help now?”
Zander let his eyes shift from the window, to Vanessa’s face again. “In short? These… urges, if you will, are a bit difficult to control. And judging by the myriad of credentials framed on that back wall,” he added, pointing, “I’m sure you can imagine how a condition such as this would eventually become an issue.”
Vanessa eased her glasses up from the tip of her nose and back into their rightful position. “How so?”
The question visibly annoyed her patient, but she confidently maintained eye contact while waiting for further explanation.
A sharp breath puffed from Zander’s lips. “Professionally. Romantically. Socially. What else would you like me to say?”
Vanessa again noted his hostility. He was seething in his seat while she stared on, indifferent to his unprovoked outburst.
“Sex brings about a plethora of reactions—physical, emotional, psychological—what is it that sex makes you feel?”
The silence that filled the air was unforeseen. She expected Zander to have a response readily available. As a psychologist himself, she assumed this was something he’d thought of before.
“Physically, it’s about the heat.”
Not what she expected to hear. “Tell me more.”
Zander shrugged and stared at the ceiling while he explained. “Body heat—that simple, and yet very significant, indicator that you’re not alone.”
“Does being alone—”
“Scare me?” he cut in. “No, but I don’t think any of us would choose it over the alternative.”
Inwardly, Vanessa agreed with Zander’s logic. “Okay… is that all for the physical?”
His eyes flickered a little before he gave way to a smile. “Really? You’re going make me say it?”
The corner of Vanessa’s mouth turned up, too. “We’re both adults, professionals. I’m only trying to gain an understanding of where this addiction stems from.”
Still smirking, Zander nodded and gave her the answer she sought. “Suit yourself. Physically? I love that first plunge—that initial burst of wet heat enveloping my cock.” He smiled bigger just thinking about it. “Drives me absolutely mad.”
Vanessa took a deep breath and squeezed her thighs together. She’d gone too long without sex—with someone other than herself, anyway—to listen to such explicit details without it affecting her. Although she figured Zander was none-the-wiser, she felt embarrassed by her body’s very human reaction to his words all the same.
Her cheeks blazed hot. When the corner of his mouth turned up into a smile, she held her breath.
“Do you think the feeling is equally as intense for women as it is for men? Sex, I mean?” he asked out the blue. “I’ve always wondered that.”
Vanessa shifted in her seat. “I can’t answer that.”
“Because it would be inappropriate.”
Zander chuckled, nodding as he analyzed Vanessa’s statement. “So… it’s okay for you to ask me intimate questions, but I can’t do the same?”
She nodded. “That’s the nature of the doctor/patient relationship. You know that. You’re a professional.”
“Precisely my point. My occupation blurs those lines a little, doesn’t it? We’re not simply doctor and patient; we’re equals, two well-seasoned professionals exploring the depths of my sub-conscious… together. I just think this would be far more interesting if you stepped out of the role of bartender and pulled up a stool on this side of the bar for a change. Perhaps there’s even an issue or two rolling around inside that head of yours, just waiting for someone like me to pluck it from the shadows.”
Vanessa felt a strong need to shift the conversation back to Zander. She ignored his reasoning and asked, “Does it make you uncomfortable to share with me?”
He stared in silence.
“You don’t want to continue?” she asked.
“Pardon me if this offends you in some way,” he cut in, ignoring her inquiry, “but I find you… incredibly attractive. Almost to the point of it being a distraction.”
She cleared her throat, but never missed a beat otherwise. “Thank you, but we have to stay on topic. Let’s talk about the emotions you attach to sex.”
Her quick, verbal maneuver made Zander smile. He’d cooperate for now. “Sex makes me feel… centered.”
“Yes. Specifically, the moment I ejaculate—in a woman, on her… doesn’t much matter where.” He paused to smile again. “Even when I masturbate. Granted, the satisfaction isn’t quite as fulfilling, but it holds me over until I find another willing victim.”
Zander watched Vanessa squirm at the mere mention of him coming. He was pretty sure she thought he hadn’t noticed, but he did. Clearly, she’d never been in the presence of a man like him. Not much went unobserved. For instance, she’d licked her lips approximately four times in the last sixty seconds. Also, she’d crossed and uncrossed her legs every other minute since he entered her office—one of many tell-tale signs of sexual frustration in women. Zander felt a primal instinct kick in, resonating from deep within his chest.
“Victims? That’s how you view the women you sleep with?” Vanessa asked, cutting into his thoughts.
He shrugged. “No. Just a clever play on words. I’m actually very sure I’ve left each and every one of my customers feeling quite satisfied.”
“Now they’re customers,” she said flatly. “So you consider sex a service?”
Zander laughed and draped his arm casually over the back of the couch, watching as Vanessa pushed her long, dark hair behind her shoulder. It was thick and he imagined it to be very soft to the touch. He envisioned himself raking his fingers through it when he spoke again.
“Do you always take everything so literally? Perhaps I should’ve warned you of my perpetual sarcasm, too, when I introduced myself. Is there a treatment for that?”
When Vanessa didn’t respond, or smile for that matter, Zander shook his head. With a sigh, he answered, “No, Dr. Ferris… sex is not a service.”
She wrote in her notepad instead of speaking. While he stared, it was like a switch flipped within him. All of a sudden, Zander regained the ability to see through the smoky haze of lust that overtakes him at inopportune times such as this. He was like a man possessed, but every now and again, the true Zander Hale was able to break through and redirect his own path.
When Vanessa looked up again, she tried to analyze the expression on Zander’s face.
He’d lost himself in her dark eyes, memorizing their exact shade in contrast to her chestnut-brown skin. Again, he felt conflicted.
While she waited for him to speak, she counted her breaths to keep them steady. The way he stared at her, into her, it was unnerving. She couldn’t let someone like him know her defenses were down; couldn’t let him know she was experiencing the longest sexual drought of her life thanks to the untimely demise of her marriage.
“I’m not entirely sure this arrangement is going to work out,” Zander finally blurted, the abruptness of the statement catching Vanessa by surprise.
She frowned a little. “And why is that?”
His eyes dropped to her breasts, watching as they rose and fell with each intake of air. The charm to her gold necklace rested in her cleavage and he forced himself to look up at her face again. However, this helped very little. Now, there were her full lips to fixate on, still moist from that incessant licking she’d been torturing him with. He turned away. It was all he could do to clear his thoughts.
“Because,” he replied, “I just have a feeling our sessions will be very counterproductive to my treatment. And, contrary to what you’ve observed here today, I do actually want to be cured.”
“Well, for starters,” Vanessa interjected, “I think ‘cured’ is the wrong word. That would imply there’s something wrong with you.”
Zander laughed cynically. “Wouldn’t you say that there is, in fact, something very wrong with me, Dr. Ferris?”
Vanessa shook her head. “No, Zander, I wouldn’t. There’re varying degrees of normal. Some of us are extreme in areas where others aren’t. You just so happen to be extremely sexual. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.”
She crossed her legs again and his heart raced.
Vanessa noticed him staring and cleared her throat to regain his attention.
“Now, I can’t force you to return next week, but I’ll schedule you anyway. Hopefully, you’ll go home and think about it, see that our session today did at least a little good, and you’ll be back here to see me next week.” She flashed a confident smile and Zander actually felt guilty that she had so much confidence in him.
“As you wish,” he breathed, standing to his feet.
Vanessa stood, too. “It was very nice meeting you.”
Zander nodded, but deep down he knew he should end things here, leave this building, and forget that it, or Dr. Ferris, even existed. However, it was a little late for that. She’d already left a lasting impression.
Vanessa extended her hand to shake his. “I’m sure that, if you give this a chance, you’ll be very happy you did.”
Reluctantly, Zander returned the gesture and held Vanessa’s gaze, feeling her soft, supple skin against his palm.
“I agree,” he replied, thinking to himself, ‘…But will you be happy I did?’
(My Muse for Dr. Zander Hale: Actor, Joseph Morgan)
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